One devastating lie set the course for Sophie Lancaster’s life. Can one earth-shattering phone call change it?
Jackson Cooper certainly hopes it won’t—at least not permanently. For the past twenty-one years, Sophie has avoided coming home and now has the nerve to show her face, purely for the reading of her grandfather’s will—that thought alone is enough to have Jackson grinding his teeth in molar-cracking frustration.
But Grandpa Ray’s final request, a life-changing challenge to save the family’s resort, pairs Jackson with this woman who makes his blood boil—in more ways than one.
With Jackson’s vow to honor his dear friend and Sophie’s promise to prove her worthiness to a grandfather she barely remembers, they set off on a yearlong adventure.
Can they learn to work and live together, forging a new bond built on respect and a common goal? Can they rely on each other without giving into their growing desires?
Just as the sizzle of attraction between them heats up, the challenge becomes a dangerous and deadly game when outside forces threaten their resort, their budding relationship, and their very lives.
With their future hanging in the balance, will they survive the challenge?
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CLICK TO EXPAND EXCERPT FROM “CONSUMED”
“How many more days do I have to wait for you to kiss me?”
The words echoed to a pulsing ache and an obnoxious beeping.
“No!” she groaned. The promise of a glorious day washed the room in muted shades of orange and red, although the morning sun had yet to peek over the horizon. She rolled over, reaching for the screeching alarm clock on the bedside table.
After four nights of sex dreams about Jackson, begging him to kiss her, desperate for him to fill her, followed by four mornings waking up hot and bothered, Sophia could say without a shred of uncertainty that she was attracted to him. And given the right situation, she’d likely wake up some morning sprawled across his naked body.
How many more days, indeed.
After completing her best imitation of a stretching cat, she climbed out of bed, still thoroughly aroused and destined to spend an excruciatingly long day working next to the object of her desire. What a sad excuse for a modern woman. If Roxy found herself in a similar predicament, she’d have long since rectified the hot and bothered situation. She’d have cornered Jackson in the Main Lodge for the much-desired kiss. She’d have propositioned him over dinner. Heck, Roxy, with her daring, uninhibited nature, would’ve shown up in his bathroom, stripped off her clothes, and joined him in the shower just to hear him sing.
But not her. No, Sophia would suffer through her day and beg for Jackson to do her in her dreams.
While her physical body screamed for release, her logical mind questioned the onset of the dreams. Four nights ago she’d added the revision to her long-standing “No Casual Sex” rule to include the “No Sex with Business Partners” clause. In general, a good rule if you were a rule follower, which she was, and if your business partner was married, gay or a complete jerk. Hers, however, was none of those things, and her subconscious knew it. Four nights had passed, filled with erotic dreams of Jackson and his naked body doing temptingly sinful things to her. And now, she hovered on the verge of breaking her own rules.
A cold shower did little to take the edge off her arousal. Probably because the dream had run on an endless loop in her mind while she’d lathered, rinsed, and repeated. Even an hour later, as she’d opened the Main Lodge for business for the day, she couldn’t quite shake the hold of those sexy images her subconscious had creatively invented.
She poured her second cup of coffee. With a firm grip on the oversized mug, she relaxed into her chair and stared at the computer monitor. For the hundredth time this morning, she mulled over the dream. Every touch, every sensation. His warm hands caressing. His hot, wet mouth teasing. His thick, steel length penetrating. None of those steamy mental images helped her current state of arousal. But she could think of little else.
Piercing shrieks ripped Sophia from her fantasy when three little girls ran past the open window. She flinched at the sound. Peace was on hiatus for the next few months and so were her tranquil mornings sipping coffee while doing paperwork.
“Seven to ten business days,” Jackson said near her ear, startling her out of her thoughts. Her face warmed. No way could he know the question that stood front and center in her mind. How many more days do I have to wait for you to kiss me?
Author: Kate Carley
If you ask my husband, he’d tell you that, as a rule, I tend not to follow his suggestions. Call it independence. Call it stubbornness. Either description fits my personality. For longer than I can remember, he’d suggested that I take a stab at putting my creative ramblings down on paper. But something about committing all those stories swirling around in my head to paper seemed like a massive undertaking. One I wasn’t sure I could tackle.
So for five long years, I politely ignored my darling husband every time he bothered to mention my future and writing in the same breath. I smiled and made excuses. Oh, yes, I could think of a thousand reasons not to try: I was too busy, I had kids to haul, an unending mountain of laundry to do, and dinner to cook. I argued that I was too logical-minded to drift along in my own fictional world, plotting the rise and fall of my characters. For goodness sake, I majored in math, not English. How would I ever figure out if my modifiers were dangling, or how to properly use a comma?
But over time, his idea germinated. Slowly, it took root in my heart, forcing out all the excuses and worries. I began researching and outlining, because my analytical mind needed someplace to start, and a blank page on my computer screen was just too daunting.
After more than a dozen years of home schooling the four kids—another one of my husband’s grand ideas—I finally opened up the front door and pointed the youngest in the direction of the local high school. I might have given her a little shove, I can’t remember. But I distinctly recall flipping the dead-bolt lock and getting down to the business of writing my novels.
When I’m not pounding away on my laptop, you might find me taking a walk or talking to my fluffy white dog, a schnauzer-poodle mix that’s smaller than my long-haired tabby. I still whip up marvelous creations for dinner, but I do my best to ignore the laundry and the rest of the never-ending housework. Like so many authors, my love for the written word started with a passion for reading, so my house is cluttered with books of all kinds.
I’ll admit that most days my world is powered by black coffee, dark chocolate, and a glass of red wine. On occasion I throw in a piece of fruit for good measure. .